Stomach bloating: Sorbitol, a sweetener found in sugar-free products, could cause painful


Stomach bloating can be caused by taking in too much of this sweetener.

“Having large amounts of the sweetener sorbitol could cause more gas to be released, [causing stomach bloating],” dietitian Dr Carrie Watson told

Sorbitol, used to ‘sweeten’ foods taste, is often found in sugar-free and diet products. It is also present in some soft drinks and naturally occurs in fruits including apples, pears and raisins.

“But it can only cause this in high quantities,” continued Dr Watson.

“So if you had diabetes and you were eating ‘sugar-free’ chocolate, you would need to eat around a kilo of this to cause the bloating.”

Many products containing sorbitol, tend to have it in “minuscule” amounts, meaning there is little risk of stomach bloating if you don’t eat a lot of the product.

Dr Carrie said the only time she experienced major bloating was when she ate a lot of prunes, which naturally contain sorbitol.

“I had a real shocker when I was moving out of my student accommodation,” she said.

“When I was clearing out my kitchen I just had a whole tin of prunes and some sweet stuff left over.

“I ate them and I was so bloated! It was like a firework going off.”

Other sweeteners are not known to cause stomach bloating, including aspartame and honey.

“There is no evidence of these sweeteners causing stomach bloating,” said Dr Watson.

These are found in several different items including diet and dental products.

A clinical nutritionist Dr Josh Axe said online: “Sugar-alcohol sweeteners aren’t absorbed well by the body and cause an allergic reaction for those who have a sensitivity to it.

“In addition, it has gastrointestinal side effects that include bloating, gas, cramping and diarrhoea.”

It is possible to reduce stomach bloating by eating a core of pineapple.

Dr Kellyann Petrucci, states on her website these fruits are a rich source of bromelain an enzyme which supports digestion and soothes the digestive tract.

“The core of the pineapple has the highest concentration of bromelain.

“So be sure your pineapple is rich, which will soften the core. Or, use chunks of the core to make a smoothie or fresh juice.”

Not eating two and a half hours before bed could also reduce stomach bloating.

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